If your fights sound like this, it’s time to get help.
Every couple has their issues, and it’s normal to fight sometimes. But, if you’re married and fighting a lot, it’s completely understandable that you might wonder if you’re headed for divorce.
While every couple is different, and relationship dynamics are complex, there are some patterns relationship therapists have found that tend to indicate things aren’t headed in a good direction.
Here are the top signs to be wary of:
Your Communication Style has changed
Sure, you may have those moments where you’re super pissed at each other and don’t want to talk for a few hours, but Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona, Psy.D., says that big, consistent, and dysfunctional changes in the way a couple communicates are a red flag. For example, if the two of you have never been yellers in the past, but now can’t disagree without screaming, it’s a problem. That’s because if you’re not able to communicate well, it can make reconciliation that much harder.
You’re Fighting All The Time
Like, all the time. “Big and noticeable increases in frequency and intensity of conflict that are persistent over time can be strong indicators that a marriage may be headed toward divorce,” Cilona says.
You’re Leading A Seperate Lives0
While you might need to cool off in separate rooms after an argument, actually having a genuine disconnect, like not telling each other where you are or making big life plans without each other, isn’t a great sign, says licensed clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., author of Should I Stay or Should I Go?. Among other things, it shows you both already have one foot out the door. This is different than being in a healthy marriage but having separate hobbies, she points out.
You Keep Blaming Each Other For Your Issues
It’s easy to think everything is your partner’s fault, but it takes two people to have a conflict. Certain defensive patterns, like projecting your issues on to your partner or the inability to take some responsibility for problems you face, are signs that things are in a bad place, Durvasula says. They may be indicators that you’ve lost the ability to reason with each other, which makes overcoming conflicts that much harder.
There’s Lingering Anger And Resentment
Significant increases in the frequency and intensity of feelings of anger, resentment, and frustration are signs that your marriage is on ice, Cilona says. That’s especially true if these feelings persist over longer periods of time. “A common sign that this dynamic may be developing to a concerning level is a pattern of arguments and conflict that often end up starting about one issue and eventually ending up returning to an old issue that never seems to resolve,” he says.
You Feel Indifferent
While battling it out isn’t good, indifference—no longer caring about things that you used to care about—isn’t a good sign either, says Durvasula. That’s especially true if it’s around long-standing arguments that never had a resolution. “This can be a sign of a level of emotional disengagement that can push a marriage toward an irreparable state,” says Cilona.
If you notice any of these happening in your marriage, Durvasula says it’s important to see a marriage therapist—and fast. “With a skilled therapist who is able to honestly cut to the core of the issues, and address communication and other underlying issues, a couple can sift through the wreckage and make an estimation of whether they want to work on this,” she says. However, she adds, there are no guarantees. “As long as one person wants out, it can be hard to save the marriage,” she says. “Marriage is important and valuable [but] not all relationships were meant to be ‘saved.'”
Try to keep in mind that just because you’ve been fighting, it doesn’t mean you’re headed for divorce. “It’s quite normal for marriages to have ups and downs, and some of these can be rather intense,” Cilona says. However, if don’t notice these signs in your relationship but you feel like your marriage isn’t as great as it can be, it never hurts to get help from a therapist.
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